Several times a day dolphins at the Melka Excelsior Hotel in Lovina, north Bali, Indonesia are used as props for tourists – posing for photo ops, manhandled during swim-with-dolphins sessions and performing tricks for fish rewards.
Five bottlenose dolphins reside inside a tiny pool at the hotel. They are claimed to be “rescues” from the horrific traveling circus, but were in fact, purchased from the circus’s owner. Instead of being taken to Camp Lumba Lumba, the world’s first permanent facility dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of wild dolphins, constructed by Dolphin Project in partnership with local organization JAAN, they are being kept inside the hotel’s pools for the purpose of entertaining paying customers.
Our team on the ground continues to investigate the goings-on at the Melka Hotel. Sadly, we can report that dolphins are still suffering greatly so that large profits can be made. Tourists are encouraged to participate in pricey swim-with-dolphins sessions, where the mammals are forced to interact with people. In addition, vulnerable parents pay large sums of money for their children to take part in “dolphin therapy” programs that target autistic children, despite there being no scientific evidence to substantiate the claim that spending time in a tank or sea enclosure with dolphins has a healing effect on ill and disabled people.
While the industry advertising interactions with captive dolphins as “life enhancing,” tourists have called out these deceptive marketing ploys on such travel sites as TripAdvisor, citing the dolphins’ mistreatment and poor living conditions.
When tourists stop flocking to the Melka Excelsior Hotel, and other facilities that keep dolphins captive, the show will end. Until then, we will continue to fight on the dolphins’ behalf.
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